Seasoned Banker James Kapesa has been appointed as Director General of the newly constituted National Health Insurance Management Authority.
The Authority will be responsible for the day today management of the K1.2 billion per year Health Insurance Fund which the Zambian government hopes will drive the country’s Universal Health Coverage agenda.
From this month end, civil servants will start contributing 1% of their salaries monthly while the employer will also contribute another 1% in a pilot that will later be extended to the rest of the formal sector and eventually to those in the private sector.
Before his appointment, Mr Kapesa led the National Health Insurance Scheme Implementation Team for the last four months.
Mr Kapesa also served as Head of Corporate and Retail Banking at Investrust Bank Plc before quitting and becoming a Consultant.
And Mr Kapesa has clarified that contributions to the National Health Insurance Scheme are mandatory to all Zambians above 18 years and below 65 years.
“This means that all those in gainful employment, civil servants, formal private sector employees and employers are included. The Authority, working with other stakeholders, has also designed a way to capture those in the informal sector to the extent possible,” he wrote on Facebook.
“By setting up the Authority, a body corporate with separate legal identity, accountability, transparency and probity are assured. At a deeper level, the Authority steps into the shoes of a “Special Purpose Vehicle” specially built away from the mainline ministry to focus on the “intended” and only one purpose.”
He added, “In addition to the safeguards in legislation, the governance systems; the board, management interplays is critical. But even more assuring is that the public is becoming more and more alert, now more than ever, interested in matters of national interest demanding more accountability. The project will thus profit from hightened public interest.”
The National Health Insurance Scheme is a Health financing system that is designed to pool funds to provide access to quality affordable personal health services for all Zambians based on their health needs, irrespective of their socio-economic status.